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Many cosmetic dentists offer “a free consultation” to patients looking for dental implants, veneers or invisible braces. Problem is so many patients don’t turn up for their appointment.

Reduce the number of patients who do no attend (DNA) a free consultation

One problem is that dentists are finding that the free element means there are a large number of DNA or did not attend. Very frustrating. However, there is a very inexpensive fix that could decrease DNAs by 12%.

Why do patients just not show up?

  • We have found that this problem is more prolific with PPC and Ads.

One reason is with adverts, there is potential for the patient not to buy into a brand and believe in the treatment results. Afterall, all they did was click on a link and fill in a form.

With a Google organic search a patient could browse your website, connect with your brand, meet the team and see before and afters etc.

You are probably thinking this cannot be true with all DNAs and of course, you would be right. Perhaps it is time to look at your own data with your TCOs. See why optimising your site for Google is more effective.

What can I do?

However, whichever channel you use to generate enquiries to promote your dental practice and literally get bums on seats, there still is an element of new patient time wasting.

  • We have tried taking refundable deposits, but this just seems to reduce the steam of free consultations dramatically.
  • We have tried improving the offer’s value and its worth in fiscal terms, (now up to £350+!), which has succeeded in improving take up but not ‘turn up.’

Use Google Local’s image library strategically

There is much said about Google Local in promoting businesses in their locations. See local search marketing solutions. This is by returning a website or telephone link for a local search. Great, it works, but this is not what we are talking about.

These are often added randomly with no thought for the audience or what they might need to see.

Nor are they often updated and often contain images of interiors, receptions and frontages that are often out of date.

Imagine a simple scenario.

  1. A daughter books a free consultation with local dentists for a full set of veneers.
  2. She can afford the finance and is interested in learning more about the process and the results she can obtain.
  3. Having coffee with her mother, she discusses her appointment with this local dentist.

Then they do what everyone else in the world does and ‘Google the practice’.

When people search for a business on Google, they may see information about that business in a box that appears in their search results. The information in the box, called the Business Profile, can help customers discover and contact your practice

When you Google the name of the business invariably Google’s first result is a Google Local result. As we discussed, Google local offers images of the practice.

The images invariably are out of date or not well thought out

This is our first port of call for our imaginary example where mother and daughter begin to have second thoughts as they see pictures of how the practice looked in 2010 and look at images of people who look suspiciously like models and probably never attended the dentist.

Doubts begin to form, and questions are asked “Is really a good idea“, and “Perhaps I want to find another dentist in the area.” This is where a fresh set of eyes from a top dental marketing expert can help keep your diary full. 

As it is a free consultation, I don’t need to bother cancelling with the dentist doesn’t cost me anything, and so I don’t turn up.


A simple antidote to this is to arrange images on Google local so that they tell a story that can be read and understood in under 30 seconds.

What is a potential patient need to know?

1. The first thing to know is whether they are attending a practice that is modern, clean and attractive. An ideal photo of the outside of the practice with accompanying logos and signage would be a very good idea

2. Many dentists that we work with have extremely attractive receptions and waiting rooms, that have the attention of interior designers. This is the second photo, preferably with a welcoming receptionist

3. Then, ideally, I would like to see a picture of all the staff and get an idea of the people I’m engaging with.

4. Of course, dentistry is about going into the dentist’s treatment room, so I would want a picture of where I lie back and say aaah in would be good.

Ideally, with screens or modern machinery, just to give reassurance that everything is professional and hygienic and can give me the results I’m looking for. No drills.

5. A photo of actual dentists looking friendly but professional.

6. Before and after image #1 (nothing gruesome, always with a face)

7.  Them, you guessed it a photo of a happy patient leaving the practice shaking hands with their dentist.

7. The next image can be like a box advert with some reassuring words or a patient review, the sort of thing that talks to me, again more reassurance that I have made the right decision

8. Before and after image #2 

9. USP  in text image/Awards

10. Text image, “we are looking forward to meeting you.”

The simple exercise probably takes a few hours of work. We know many practices which spend fortunes on rebranding and improving the practice’s frontage.

But we also know that most don’t carry this branding exercise onto Google local.

Bear in mind that many images on Google local have been viewed over a million times.

It’s a simple fix to an annoying problem.

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